This tragic event took the life of 9 persons and injured more than 300. It shattered the economy of the whole region, bringing uncertainty about the future, changing forever the lives of the inhabitants.
But the population and the local authorities of Lorca and of the Murcia region showed an extraordinary courage; facing the ruins, they started rebuilding. And they requested the support of European solidary.
The European Regional Development Fund then intervened in a later stage, reassigning funds to invest in the recovery of the economic activity of the city and fostering the economic and social development of Lorca and the region.
A disaster can strike at any moment and when it is least expected. We cannot prevent this from happening. But we can prepare for it and thus mitigate its impact, reduce the damage and most importantly save lives and safeguard the health of our citizens. This is why risk and disaster management policies are so important. Last year, we have reformed the European Solidarity Fund, which will make the application process much simpler and allow us to make money available quicker.
I am happy to see that good use has been made of EU funds there, even if this was not easy to accomplish at times and more remains to be done. I want to thank the authorities of the city of Lorca and of the Murcia Region for their commitment and tenacity. They are an example for all of us.